Stability or Adventure

Aston MartinLast night, Bryan left his pickup truck at home and picked me up in his Aston Martin instead. Apparently his third vehicle is a motorcycle. I haven’t seen that one yet.

I’m still trying to figure Bryan out.

He is a 36-year-old electrical engineer who is getting ready to retire. He has spent the last decade traveling the world as an engineering consultant and project manager. He’s lived in London, Paris, Nigeria, South Korea, Qatar, Iran and multiple states across the US. The result? He speaks four languages, is worldly wise, and has had a lucrative enough career to retire before age 40.

Bryan sees every emotion that flashes across my face. He doesn’t think I’m stoic. When I told him that I am often perceived as having a stoic persona, he actually laughed out loud. I had to remind him that not everyone is as perceptive as he is.

In his retirement, Bryan plans to write memoirs of his international adventures, publish a photo book, do long-term mission work in Haiti and work on his golf game. Like me, Bryan gets bored easily, so he is always looking for his next adventure. It sounds like he’s never in the same place for long, which makes him a very interesting date and conversation partner, but perhaps not such a great husband or father of my children.

I still haven’t decided if I’m romantically interested in Bryan. He’s a good looking guy. He’s physically fit (just finished a Triathlon) and wealthy (retiring before age 40). We met at church, and he’s a godly man with strong family values and good work/life balance despite being so wildly successful in his career. He’s brilliant and perceptive and interesting and adventurous.

He ended his last text to me with Bisou, which is French for kiss. It is “a warmer, more playful, and more familiar version of bise. It can refer to a kiss on the cheek or on the lips, so may be used when talking to lovers and platonic friends.”

Stability or AdventureI think I need to ask myself two key questions:

  1. Is our attraction purely intellectual, or is there more to it than that?
  2. Do I want stability or adventure?

Authentically Aurora

Thankful, Despite it all

Sudan waterFor each of the past five years, I have gone on an international mission trip. I remember my 2011 trip being particularly poignant because, after weeks of living in a mud hut in Sudan, I returned to civilization in the midst of our extravagant holiday season.

Over the course of a 24 hour period, I went from a bat-infested mud hut with no electricity or running water to the opulence and busyness of Christmas in America. I went from 118 degree heat – caked in mud and having not bathed in two weeks – to dressing up in fancy gowns and sipping champagne at holiday parties. I went from a culture where starving, impoverished villagers slaughtered a goat for me in thankfulness for my medical services, to a culture where people nearly slaughtered each other as they stormed the shelves of Toys R Us looking for a Tickle-Me-Elmo to ensure their kid had a happy face on Christmas morning. It was the worst reverse culture shock I’ve ever experienced.

I think I spent most of that Christmas angry with everyone around me for their utter lack of thankfulness for our very many blessings. We have a tendency to be a greedy, entitled, self-interested people. We also have the capacity to be a wonderfully kind, loving and selfless people.

Thanksgiving prayer2014 has been a hard year for me. I’ve been rejected and abandoned by a fiancéwounded by trusted friends, insulted by thoughtless family membersinfested with fleas that just wouldn’t die, and subjected to petty office politics instigated by jealous coworkers. But I still count myself blessed. I believe that God is good and that even my trials have purpose; they are for my betterment and for God’s glory. People are messy and will fail us, but they are still beautiful and carry within them the breathtaking story of redemption. And even when people fail us, God remains a rock and a refuge for those who seek Him. He is faithful, even when we are faithless.

I have been blessed this year because, even in my trials, God has allowed me to see the lovingkindness and selflessness that people are capable of. And I am thankful, despite the heartache I’ve endured. As my Dad always says (regardless of circumstances!), “Life is good.”

My prayer for us all this Thanksgiving is that we pause our frantic busyness to truly stop, right our perspective, and be thankful for our very many blessings.

“Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” -Ps. 30:5

Authentically Aurora